New research: ‘Well child’ doctor visits linked to flu-like symptoms

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child with doctor(NaturalHealth365) While most parents have been convinced to do their “due diligence” by taking children as young as infancy to regular, “well child” doctor visits, new research shows a very un-well, dismal picture of how those visits may be affecting your child’s still-developing immune system.

The March edition of Infection Control and Epidemiology reports that annual well-child exams and vaccinations are associated with an increased risk of flu-like illnesses for children and their families within two weeks following their visit. To put it into perspective, this is upwards of 700,000 potentially avoidable illnesses each year. While policy makers are of course up in arms about financial concerns associated with these risks, the conventional medical model has little to propose to realistically reduce these incidences.

Looking for a simple solution?  In addition to a loving environment, the recipe to raising healthy children is simple – clean water, seasonal organic foods, high quality, key everyday supplements and avoidance of processed foods and chemicals in the household.

Feeding kids super foods is easier than you may think

There are many ways to incorporate super foods into your child’s diet. From their first interaction with solid foods, your child’s immune microbiology (probiotics) is significantly shaped. In fact, your child’s immune system is at most risk when they aren’t receiving adequate vitamins and nutrients from a variety of foods.

Offering your child a variety of seasonal, organic super foods from this early stage has been shown to establish healthy eating habits – including psycho-emotional benefits.

Being the parent of a happy, super food eating 3 year old child, I tell my patients that perseverance is key. Focusing on avoiding processed and packaged foods is essential during early years when tastes literally dictate how the immune system forms in the gut.

If at first your child refuses super food smoothies, try a pudding. If they refuse the pudding, bake the pudding into a bread or muffin… try super food ice follies… set the course for a healthy-eating child from when they take their first bites – this will help them avoid the temptation of reaching for junk food.

My favorite whole foods for kids

  • Mangos, avocados, dark berries, carrots, sweet potato, radish
  • Leafy greens – try adding sweeter greens like watercress and red chard to offer more palatability
  • Sprouted nuts grains and seeds such as chia, hemp and pumpkin
  • Homemade nut milks
  • Ghee and coconut oil – use in cooking and as spreads
  • Pollutant-free fish – coat fish with nuts or marinate in coconut milk
  • Coconut kefir
  • Bone broths

Here are some super foods to enhance immune function:

  • Blue-green algae like, spirulina
  • Camu camu berry
  • Cacao
  • Organic green powders

What makes water ‘clean’ to drink?

Since water is the basis of most beverages your child will drink – be sure it’s clean. I encourage you to find ‘real water’ to drink. But, above all, do NOT drink water with fluoride in it – which will only threatens immune function and brain development.

These are the ‘must have’ immune protective supplements for your kids:

1. Vitamin D3: Essential for front line and long term immune protection, vitamin D3 confers armor-like immune resistance. In private practice I see many children with food allergies, an immunological concern – vitamin D3 has been linked in research to help prevent celiac disease and gluten intolerance from developing (note: low D levels linked to celiac disease development, yet this does not imply that those diagnosed with celiac or gluten intolerance should introduce gluten to their diet when using vitamin D).

2. Vitamin C: Did you hear about the vitamin C “overdose” that saved a man from a deadly virus? Immune modulating and an acute-immune protector, vitamin C mobilizes healthy cellular activity throughout all levels of the immune system.

Because we can’t avoid all of the environmental pollution we’re exposed to, vitamin C is the choice to prevent oxidative damage and to promote anti-microbial protection when necessary.

3. Probiotics: 80 percent of your immune system is living in your gut – your child’s microbiology is still developing, protect and enhance it every day with multi-strain probiotic supplements.

Please note: Ask your child’s integrative health care specialist for personalized dosage information.

Healthy children are happy children

So, what’s the key to making all of this work and to keep your child’s immune system in check? Involve your child in the process. Consider reassessing your time priorities to include your child as an active participant in their everyday wellbeing.

Exposing your child early to healthy foods at the market, a dig in the garden and to preparing foods with you in the kitchen has been shown to confer long-term immunological benefits simply because they are not being exposed to other non-health-promoting activities. What would you rather being doing- spending lost hours in your child’s doctor’s office or enjoying quality time that creates memories and health!

About the author: Christine M. Dionese L.Ac, MSTOM is an integrative health expert, medical journalist and food writer. She’s dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health. Christine practices, writes and speaks on environmental functional medicine, personalized medicine and epigenetics, food science and sustainable living.


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  • Joan Parker

    How can you not catch some bug in the doctor’s waiting room. The reason many people go to the doctor is because they have an infection of some kind. After waiting around for sometimes up to an hour in a germ filled environment it is possible to come down with either a cold or flu.

  • Toby F

    Children have to build up immunity. However, exposing them to germs in the doctor’s waiting room is not the best way to do it. This article is right on a healthy diet and environment can go a long way in producing a strong immune system.

    • signalfire1

      Up to 100 years ago, the lucky children were isolated within their own villages or farms and were exposed to ‘new’ germs very slowly. The city kids got typhoid, small pox and all the rest. Mass exposure from daycare age on is not normal, especially when all those daycare kids are dropped off by frantic parents early in the morning because they ‘have to be at work on time’ to pay their bills. How many sick kids are in daycare for hours before the staff wises up and calls the parents to come get them? How many of those kids are sitting right next to your kid, sneezing and coughing on them and playing with the same toys, and being attended to by low pay child care workers without a clue?

  • Nate

    What is a well visit? Is it when you are well you go to the doctor so that he can find you are not as healthy as you feel? However, if you are truly healthy he can inject you with all kinds of toxic materials so you stay healthy.

    What am I missing in this? Does anyone else think this doesn’t make any sense.

    • Louis

      Well visits results in profit for the medical and pharmaceutical industry. So it makes cents, but no sense for the population.

    • Tiina

      I certainly do!

  • Gary Travis

    Ritalin is considered a way to make your child function well. To think this can be prescribed when the child is brought in for a well visit. Wow, the well visit seems to be anything but.

  • signalfire1

    Well child visits are a con to get parents used to ‘coming in for scheduled vaccinations’; in any given visit, several of those kids in the waiting room will be sick with something, and the staff is exposed all day long to viruses and bacteria and while they may be washing their hands, they aren’t changing their clothes. If you must go, get the first visit appointment of the day and don’t let your kids play with the others, or touch the toys (unwashed and unsterilized, no doubt about that) ever. Bring a book to read to them and sit in a corner – if your doc keeps you waiting more than a few minutes without isolating your either well or sick child in an exam room, get another doc.

  • signalfire1

    Yup, and as someone who typed over a half million medical reports, I can tell you that the vast majority were never read but were dictated and transcribed (at vast cost) merely for CYA purposes. If you’ve got a long or complicated medical history, be aware that your doctor has no clue about it, even if you filled out the forms and dutifully catalogued everything on your first visit. Nor will your anesthesiologist or any of the other hospital staff pay attention to the BRIGHT RED IN BOLD WARNINGS about any drug allergies or contraindications. I woke up two different times from surgery after specifically warning everyone in sight about morphine contraindications only to have a morphine drip in my arm. It’s like they’re trying to kill you…

  • signalfire1

    Ever ask yourself WTH all those ’21st Century illnesses’ are all about, or why they’ve become pandemic? Add to that Crohn’s and other digestive disorders which were rare in the 70s and before, now are common and extremely debilitating (hint: it’s the insecticides and GMOs and high gluten foods wreaking havoc with gut bacteria). I’m also convinced after long study that most of the American population is so low in Vitamin C intake that they’re near scurvy levels. If you rely on One-A-Days or a little glass of pasteurized orange juice for your C, you’re kidding yourself. Heat kills C. You need at least 1 gram a day, better 10 grams, get the powder kind on line and take it in water all day long to bowel tolerance. Pauling was right but they demonized the two-time Nobel Prize winner when he started talking about high dose C being nearly a cure-all. You can’t heal or build your cell membranes without it and infections burn huge amounts of it.

  • Kimberly

    My son is almost 4 and still breastfeeds, not as often anymore but still day and night. He’s never had the flu or been very ill. I think that is a huge factor in his immune system. I was not breastfed and was a very sick child. I also don’t take him to well visits or vaccinate. He’s perfectly healthy!